This Independent Review is a crucial and rigorous piece of work. Having received an update from the reviewers this month I wanted to share the latest information with you and take a moment to reflect on the progress and processes completed to date.
The first step taken was to form a Working Group to ensure that a fair and proper process was put in place. That group was formed in November 2021, with the terms of reference for the Independent Review finalised in the months that followed. The tender process to find a skilled and experienced team began in January 2022, with the Independent Reviewers appointed and commissioned to get to work in April 2022.
The Independent Reviewers provided updates on progress in the early autumn this year explaining they had experienced challenges in establishing contact with individuals they needed to interview over the summer. For the review to be robust and make sure everyone could take part, a second request for participation was made which was more fruitful than the first and yielded valuable information. As a result, the Independent Reviewers need more time to consider this recently gained insight which will ensure a thorough investigation and comprehensive conclusion and recommendations.
It is of course with great regret that there will be no outcome this year, and this has taken longer than we had anticipated. However, we all recognise the importance of the highest integrity in the process, sufficient time to reach the people needing to be involved, and the information gathered to be properly considered. The Independent Reviewers have informed us that they currently expect to have reached their conclusions by Spring 2023.
Recognising the emotional and psychological impact to those involved, I want to reiterate that I am here to provide support for anyone with concerns about safeguarding. I’m here to listen, to offer support or to recommend relevant independent support services. You can reach me by email here.
Beyond the Independent Review, a range of actions were agreed and taken forward by the Chartered Institute in 2021. These have either been completed or are ongoing. This includes building and maintaining a central screening process that reduces the risk of individuals of concern participating in Chartered Institute events and activities. Our reporting system Spot, which launched in July 2022, continues to enable anonymous reporting and to deliver anti-harassment training.
Most recently, the Chartered Institute joined the Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. This scheme aims to keep perpetrators of sexual misconduct from moving from organisation to organisation by sharing information through legal, moral, and ethical channels. We also have in place mandatory training that supports all staff, members and volunteers to understand how to identify, respond and report any safeguarding concerns.
Since my appointment as Head of Professional Conduct, our Safeguarding and Whistleblowing Trustee Isobel Michael and I have worked closely together, sharing our skills, knowledge, experience, and fusing our tenacious commitment to a safe and inclusive fundraising sector.
Much more is planned for 2023, in addition to the much-needed expansion and development of our Professional Conduct Committee. We will begin recruiting for that committee early in the New Year, so please keep an eye out for our postings.
In the meantime, if you have any queries or need to reach out to me, please get in touch.